Ten Year Prison Term Reversed On Judge's Error - Consecutive Prison Terms in Ohio Sentencing


Michael Bryan was indicted in Muskingum County, Ohio for drug trafficking (cocaine and methamphetamine) in violation of Ohio R.C. 2925.03(A)(1) for a total of 5 counts. Two of the counts were elevated one level due to school specifications. He pled guilty and proceeded to sentencing.

His trial counsel argued for a four (4) year term. The prosecutor argued for ten (10) years. The judge sentenced Mr. Bryan to ten (10) years and the judge got to ten years by sentencing him to 2 years on each count but ordering each of the offenses to be served consecutively. He appealed his sentence arguing that the judge violated Ohio law in ordering consecutive sentences.

Ohio R.C. 2929.24(C)(4) sets forth the law permitting a judge to order consecutive sentencing. In a nutshell, offenses can only be ordered to be served consecutively if the judge makes the following findings on the record:

1. It is necessary to protect the public from future crime of this offender

2. A consecutive term is not disproportionate to the seriousness of the offender’s conduct

3. The danger the offender poses to the public

4. If the offender committed the crime while on bond, probation or other supervision

5. If the harm caused was so great that no single prison term would adequately reflect the seriousness

6. The offender’s criminal history demonstrates that a longer / consecutive prison term is necessary.

On appeal, Mr. Bryan’s sentence was reversed. (State v. Bryan, 5th Dist. Muskingum, 4/24/17)